Today, there was an article on CNN.com that was both edifying and amazing. It was entitled There's No Good Way to Tell your Kids They Have Cancer and it featured medical "experts" who waxed poetic on the value of being forthright with your kids about their imminent demise.
We disagreed with the central premise of the article; we can think of a million great ways to tell your kids they have a limited amount of time on this earth. To prove our point, we contacted some of the world's leading oncologists for tips on how to easily break the news. Enjoy responsibly.
Dr. Steven Franks
(Dr Franks enters stage)
"Hire a clown to come to the house -- kids love them. The clown will make a balloon animal and when the kid asks what it is, the clown will say, "your tumor." Then, the child will cry. But the clown will offer up his hanky... and it's one of those 'never-ending' ones. So, the kid will laugh. If he doesn't, you need to step in and say, "Uh-Oh, looks like the cancer spread to your funny bone."
Dr. Samantha Jencks
(Dr. Jencks enters stage)
"Children need to take an active role in their cure. Before you break the news, buy the child a piggy bank and tell him to save money in order to cure cancer. One month later, break open the bank and shake your head in disgust saying, 'We can't cure your cancer with six dollars. You have no one to blame but yourself.' Then, take the six dollars and pick-up a Pizza Hut Pizzone for yourself. Tell the child that your disappointment in him leads to stress-eating."
Dr. Milton Bozymski
(Dr. Bozymski enters stage)
"Buy a prepaid cell phone. Then secretly add the prepaid cell number as a new contact in your child's phone and label it 'God.' The next day send the following text message: 'U R Dying. LOL (optional).' When they show you the message, tell them that God works in mysterious ways. Then, take their phone away -- your plan doesn't include unlimited texting."
Dr. Alex Byrd
(Dr. Byrd enters stage)
"Let your child figure it out on his own without spelling it out for him. It will make him feel smart. For example, tell him that you both should write a will. When he asks questions, simply tell him that wills are what dying people draw up as a way to make sure their possessions are passed along to loved ones. After he finishes his, throw yours away and tell him that only he needs one -- it's for dying people, after all. To console him, let him know that he doesn't really own anything anyway. Then, tear up the paper and start selling his toys on Ebay."
Dr. Francis Verhooven
(Dr. Verhooven enters stage)
"It's important for a child to maintain a sense of pride. Show him the recent reports which suggest that cancer will overtake heart disease as the leading cause of death and tell him, "You are helping to make this a reality."
Dr. Garrett Maxwell
(Dr. Maxwell enters stage)
"Apathy is a great way to curb the fear and restlessness associated with the bad news. For example, let him have all the candy he wants. When he asks, "What's the special occasion?" Tell him, "Why not? Couldn't be worse for you than the tumors."